Interlaken and a bit around

Swiss are proud people, they have a lot of “the most”, for example, the steepest cable car or the highest railroad station in Europe.

This pride, amplified by the desire to attract tourists, is very present in one of the most popular regions of Switzerland – in the area of the Interlaken town.

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Alpine meadows of Appenzell

One thing I really love about Switzerland is how easy it is to organize a nature getaway here. Here is my algorithm:

  1. Open a map.
  2. Pick a village next to the mountains and a forest that has a train station or at least a bus stop. A lake nearby would be a bonus.
  3. Open the website of the village or the nearest cable car. It will almost for sure contain a description of hike trails including elevation/descent numbers and the map of all trails.
  4. Pick a trail, buy a ticket and go!

A serious advantage of the approach is that like this one can find wonderful and not very famous places which means no tourists and healthier nature. One of such Alpine gems is Wasserauen in the canton of Appenzell.

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Dominican Republic: getting to know the Caribbean

For our first trip to a tropical island we chose Dominican Republic. One of the biggest and the richest (= the least poor) countries in the Caribbean will offer anything you would possibly want from such a trip: white sand beaches, palm trees, sun, as well as a lot of opportunities to discover the nature of tropical rainforests: there are many national parks and reserves here for such a small country. Those interested in history will also find something here: Santo Domingo, the capital of DR, is the place of the first Columbus’s disembarkation and the oldest European settlement in the Western Hemisphere. Ten days of our trip only gave as enough time to see the most popular sights of the country. The rest of them has to wait when we decide to come here again. This will happen most definitely because DR is such a wonderful tropical destination!

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New York

Everything is so huge in the US: a regular fridge must be capable of fitting in a mammoth, and a tower must contain no less than a hundred stories. Comparing to the 3-story, compact Zurich which only accommodates 400 thousand people, where 50 years old trees grow in the most central streets, New York turned out a huge contrast. By the end of the first day my neck started to hurt from constantly rotating it to look at the skyscrapers!

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Paris: disappointments and discoveries

Having visited Paris in the end of March, I still cannot tell whether that was a mistake. On one hand, the high season is not there yet and the queus are tolerable. On the other hand, May or June could be a better time – Paris is full of gardens and parks and now I can only imagine how beautiful it is here when all those trees are blooming and there is a little green between the grey and intimidating palaces of stone. Well well, looks like I will have to come here again! Fortunately, the sightseeing checklist is already done, there will be no need to queue for random reasons, and I can just relax in parks and walk along broad Paris avenues.

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Matterhorn – the Kingdom of Ice and Snow

Last time I wrote that we have no snow in Zurich, and now we finally found out where is all that snow that is meant for us =)

To learn that, we had to travel 4 hours by train from Zurich to the very border of Italy, to an area containing a large number of 4000-meter high Alpine peaks. Our goal was Matterhorn – this perfect Swiss mountain. If you have ever had Toblerone – this is exactly the peak printed on the pack! It has also inspired Toblerone’s triangle shape. Check out the similarity:

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Snow in Switzerland

In December we had snow. Roads and trees were covered with a thin layer of snow for two weeks. Switzerland was not ready for this. Rare snow is one of those few cases when the Swiss punctuality fails.

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Advent calendar

There is a nice tradition in Europe called advent calendar. Usually such a calendar is a box with 24 small sections with a chocolate inside each of them. The sections themselves are numbered randomly from 1 to 24. In general, it looks similar to this:

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Living in Zurich has its pros and cons. Zurich is a vivid and fast-growing city, which makes living here exciting, but at the same time the constant noise of cars and endless construction sites makes you feel a bit down from time to time.

Fortunately, apart from cities, Switzerland also has mountains, forests and lakes to offer =) Even if you pick a new hiking place every weekend, it will take a few years until you have to repeat some of them. Mountains and cliffs reflected in a lake’s still water, green forests and ringing of cow bells in otherwise absolute silence – that all is exactly what one needs to stay away from the city for a day.

This time we headed to Walensee which is situated south-west from Zurich, in the Lichtenstein direction, to bring some authentic Swiss impressions:

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